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review 2018-04-06 16:07
"Dead Cold - Chief Inspector Gamache #2" by Louise Penny - not your typical whodunnit
Dead Cold (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #2) - Louise Penny

"Dead Cold" (published in the US under the less pleasingly ambiguous and less accurate title of "A Fatal Grace") surprised me by being qualitatively very different from "Still Life", the first book in the series.


"Still Life" was a comforting, almost wistful, book in which a wise detective gently unravels the deceptions hiding a murder and, in the process, falls in love with the village of Three Pines and its inhabitants.


"Dead Cold" takes us back to Three Pines and the villagers who brought the last book to life. It captures their reactions to CeeCee, a new arrival so cold and cruel, that when she dies a dreadful death the village almost celebrates, as if a house had just landed on the Wicked Witch of the West. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache is called to Three Pines to discover the murderer.


Despite having the same setting and characters as "Still Life" and a similarly complex plot, rolled out with at a similarly leisurely pace with regular pauses for food and philosophical reflection, "Dead Cold" sets off in a new direction. It sets this direction in a beautiful and compelling way, but I found the direction itself hard to accept.


As Chief Inspector Gamache says more than once, this case is about our beliefs and how they shape our actions and define our lives. In this book, the characters hunt not only for a murderer but for the numinous.  Psalm 46 is quoted repeatedly

"Be still and know that I am God"

Gamache and a number of the other characters in the book actively seek the presence of God to provide them with direction or purpose. The God is not necessarily a Christian God.  There is a nod towards other religions, including a translation of the traditional Indian greeting, Namaste, as "The God in me greets the God in you." Leonard Cohen is also enlisted in the search for the numinous, with a quote from the lyrics of Anthem:

"Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

Light becomes central to the discussion of the divine and the language used in the book is often truly luminous, glowing with beauty and joy. The passage in which Clara's painting of "The Three Grace's" is described is wonderful as are some of the physical descriptions of Three Pines.


Despite the beauty of the language and the skill of the exposition, I struggled with the strong influence of the divine in this book. At times, I felt as if I had wandered into a modern allegory, exploring a seeker's path through the tribulations a long life, rather than a murder mystery.


The struggle arose partly from my expectation that I WAS reading a murder mystery and not a parable and partly because I am so deeply unconvinced by the possibility of the personal experience of God in my Louise Penny led.


I resolved the struggle by accepting that I WASN'T reading a murder mystery but rather a novel that seeks to illustrate the possibility of belief as a source of good or evil that has a real impact on who we become.  I allowed that the characters described here sincerely believe in the existence of the God they seek and the Three Pines is more than a place, it is an aspiration for what a community should be.


Taken on these terms, "Dead Cold" became a delightful read with a murder mystery and a little internal Police political intrigue added as seasoning.


I ended the book feeling glad that I'd heard Louise Penny's unique voice and wondering what intent is driving this series.


Adam Sims did a great job narrating "Dead Cold". Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.


[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/138201156" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]


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review 2018-03-27 17:16
Cold Cold Heart - Tami Hoag

This one made me jump several times, I enjoyed the story of a woman dealing with brain trauma as the result of being attacked by a serial killer (and that sentence makes me a little scared of me). Dana Nolan had a promising career as a TV reporter when a serial killer interrupts everything. She kills him to survive and this is where the story begins. Now she has to deal with brain damage and moving home. She starts to look at her former self, curious about the past and stumbles on the mystery that was her friend. When they graduated high school her friend disappeared and it's all a huge mystery that she can't believe she hasn't investigated before this. She's back with friends and family and other people with issues, including her friend's ex-boyfriend who has survived the army and now his PTSD is causing him problems too.

A compelling listen.

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review 2018-03-24 15:25
Always Read The Book
The Cold Dish - Craig Johnson

As previously stated, I have no idea how to review books that I like. This is also kinda a half-review for the Longmire TV show. You've been warned...


So, to reiterate the title of this review: always read the book. Honestly, if I had know that Longmire involved something besides racism and copious amounts of old man angst, I would have read the books ages ago.


The first big difference between the book and the show is that Walt narrates the whole shebang in true lonesome cowboy fashion. It's fantastic. I now want to know what Walt Longmire is thinking all the time. It would have really spiced up the show to know what he was pondering while staring off into the Wyoming sunset. (But no, they had to go with angst and no one ever talking about their feelings!!)


Perhaps my favorite part of the book is Henry's nickname: Bear. Honestly, he deserves it. The thought of someone walking up to Lou Diamond Phillips and calling him "Bear" just tickles me pink.


I've already got the second book in my Amazon cart and I hear that they don't exactly keep Vic and Walt away from each other until the series finale so I'm 100% ready to read more.


PLOT - 5/5
PROSE - 5/5

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text 2018-03-19 18:08
Win one of 100 copies of Cold-Blooded - The Mattie Saunders Series Book 2
Cold-Blooded - Rod Raglin

The second book in The Mattie Saunders Series, Cold-Blooded, has just been released and you can enter to win one of 100  free E-Book editions on BookLikes until April 15, 2018.


In Book 1, The Rocker and the Bird Girl, you'll meet the heroine, Mattie Saunders, a twenty-something, slightly eccentric loner who loves birds and so far has devoted her relatively short life to the rescue, care and re-homing of exotic ones people keep as pets, like parrots.


The sanctuary her grandfather left her is out of funds and in an effort to raise some money so her birds won't be homeless yet again, she reaches out the Bodine, the lead guitarist of the bad-boy rock band Seditious. She's learned Bodine has a pet Macaw and since she assumes he's fabulously wealthy hopes he'll by sympathetic and use some of that wealth to help these precious creatures.


Telling you more would be like shooting myself in the foot since I want you to buy the book.


In Book 2, Cold Blooded, Mattie receives a call from Liz, an old friend from high school, asking if it's possible to temporarily board some reptiles at Saunders Bird Sanctuary. The Reptile Refuge where Liz volunteers has been closed be police while they investigate a suspicious death that took place on the premises.


Mattie's not concerned with the circumstances and sees it as an opportunity to reconnect with Liz as well as help some animals in distress, but she soon discovers it's not just the displaced inhabitants of The Reptile Refuge that are cold blooded.

Cold-Blooded also addresses contemporary issues including love, friendship, family, the rescue and rehabilitation of exotic pets including birds and reptiles, and the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic.


Links associated with this post;

Link to BookLikes Giveaway http://booklikes.com/giveaways


To purchase The Rocker and the Bird Girl, Book 1 in The Mattie Saunders Series as either an E-Book or Paperback go to my Amazon Author Page at




Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs



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review 2018-03-18 00:50
Cars and Cold Cases
Cars and Cold Cases - Diana Xarissa

This is a great series to curl up with for an evening; quick, light reads that are very cozy indeed. I enjoyed the plot, two decades-old cold cases involving a missing woman and a man found dead and I liked how Mona's extensive knowledge of the major players in the mystery came into play, with the juicy soap opera lives of the rich making for an enjoyable mystery. I have to say, Fenella's overwrought hysterics about her driving lessons were a bit overdone. The way she was going on about it, you'd think she'd never driven anywhere, let alone on a tiny island. Get a grip, woman!

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